Growing from Experience

Hard-won solutions from your colleagues next door

I've seen research that says that IT pros prefer to solve problems by asking the guy or gal in the neighboring cubicle for help. Well, that's pretty much what this magazine has always been—hard-won solutions from fellow IT pros that save you trial and error. Now we're changing our name to Windows IT Pro to reflect that focus.

"Thanks for saving me hours trying to figure out what to do," wrote a reader named Carol. "You have a unique talent for figuring out what I need just before I do." Carol was referring to an article by Mark Minasi, and I could quote similar letters about each of our senior contributors, Michael Otey, David Chernicoff, Tony Redmond, Paul Thurrott, and Mark Russinovich—all of whom are sought-after speakers, best-selling authors, and technical gurus.

Our writers home in on the right problems because, like you, they struggle with technical troubles and business challenges. What distinguishes them is their passion about sharing their experience with the Windows community. Their contributions have led Microsoft to recognize more than 30 of them as Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs), including Roger Grimes, Darren Mar-Elia, Alan Sugano, and Christa Anderson.

I want you to get to know these IT pro colleagues of yours. Starting next month, Janet Robbins, our editor in chief and a respected technical journalist, will tell you about our authors and why they're covering particular topics.

Why should you care who writes for us? For John Collins and readers like him, the answer lies in getting their money's worth for the magazine. John wrote, "You successfully cover the most important and pressing concerns ... and you offer excellent product evaluations. This really gives me ROI" for the subscription.

What's in a Change?
So what's up with renaming the magazine (again), revamping the design, and introducing new types of content and fresh authors? OK, I'll admit that one reason for taking the name Windows IT Pro is to escape Microsoft's naming whims and keep the same title for a while. But the more profound reason is to convey our commitment to you and connection with the community and our industry.

That's why I'm excited about the innovative features we're introducing, especially our enhanced product coverage. Our reviewers not only perform hands-on tests but also recommend the best and clearly state caveats. You'll see ratings of reviewed products and summarized pros and cons, as well as in-depth feature-comparison tables to inform your buying decisions.

Solutions Plus is a new how-to section you'll want to cut out and save. These articles include handy Project Summaries to tell you what you'll need, how long the project will take, how difficult it is, and what the steps are.

Monthly IT Pro Hero profiles now accompany our cover stories. They honestly expose both triumphs and debacles so that you can learn from your peers' successes and failures.

My contribution is the new Hey, Microsoft! column. To help you understand technologies—and Microsoft to understand your needs—I solicit your feedback, share it with the product teams, and bring you their response.

Of course, not all your responsibilities are technical. You also justify IT expenses and ensure ROI, and you have to understand the business to advance in your career. To address these responsibilities, Ben Smith, a senior security strategist at Microsoft, is writing a new column, The Business End.

My favorite email came from a subscriber who'd come home from work with our magazine in hand. When his wife saw it, she rolled her eyes. "Oh, no. Not that nerd porn again! Now you'll be absorbed in that techie stuff all night." The reader and his wife got a chuckle out of her comment, and we felt we'd received the highest praise ever—how often is a spouse jealous of a technical magazine? We'd really connected with that reader.

Connection is why I'm in this job. Today, you work harder than ever, IT is more complex, and keeping up with technology is daunting. You confront outsourcing and pressure to produce ROI. Your time is limited, and you expect results.

Results are what Windows IT Pro gives you. I hope that the next time you take home an issue, your partner will roll his or her eyes because you'll be spending the evening enjoying an indispensable read. Please let me know what you think of our efforts.

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